In this video story, OC’s Asia Area Director Dave shares about the significance of three-rope bridges in spreading the gospel in northern India:
My name is Dave. I’m the Asia Area Director for OC, and I want to tell you about my experience in Nagaland in northeast India. I was there with Barb, my wife, to teach the Bible in a certain tribe’s Bible school. The town that this Bible school is in is the highest town in all of the hilly state of Nagaland. So it was quite cold, and it wasn’t easy to get to. We went on a long windy road to get there. So when we were there, one of the leaders in the school told us his story. And I want to tell you his story because I think it’s a great story…
He told us that one of his students from Arunachal Pradesh, that’s the state north of Nagaland that nestles up against the Chinese border. One of his students took him up into his state, and he walked with him many miles into the countryside, preaching the gospel. I guess he was translated, and they had to cross three-rope bridges. Well, a three-rope bridge means you have one rope for this hand, you have one rope for this hand, and you have one rope for your feet. These are three-rope bridges over very deep chasms. If you look at Arunachal Pradesh on the map, you’ll see a lot of mountains, a few rivers, very deep.
So this man, this Naga man, went, crossed these three-roped bridges, looked down, got scared, kept going and then finally at one point in this journey he told his student, “I can’t cross another three-rope bridge.” And the student said, “Ok, we’ll only go this far. I just want to tell you. You see that village on the other side of the chasm,” that he couldn’t get to because he couldn’t face another bridge. “That village over there does not have any believers in it yet.” So all this school leader that I met could do, he just raised up his hands and he prayed for this village with no believers in it, across this chasm that he couldn’t cross because he couldn’t face another three-rope bridge.
Well he went back, crossed a lot more three-rope bridges, all those three-roped bridges that he crossed getting there, he had to cross getting back. So then the school session, they had more semesters, and then at one point that student, that same student, returned to him and said, “Sir, I just want to let you know that there are believers now. Your prayers were answered. There are believers now in that village you prayed for across the chasm.”
Well, I’m telling you this story, because I had a hard time getting to that school where that man is a leader and that student studies. I have never crossed a three-rope bridge in my life. And I don’t think I ever will cross a three-rope bridge, much less many three-rope bridges to finally I get to a three-rope bridge that I cannot cross. But the students cross those three-rope bridges, my students, the students in that school that I taught… I think I taught Philippians and Colossians to. They take the stuff that I get to teach them, and they cross all those three-rope bridges. They cross them easily. They go into those villages. They preach the gospel. They make disciples where, I don’t even want to say I couldn’t get there, even the school leader who lived in the hills of Nagaland couldn’t get there, much less me, never having crossed and never expecting to cross a three-rope bridge. So that’s my three-rope bridge story.